Thursday, April 13, 2006

Iranian Regime's Nuclear Celebrations

Hamid Ahadi, Rooz Online:
Following wide-ranging plans which had been planned since last week, in a speech in the city of Mashhad president Ahmadinejad announced that Iranian experts had succeeded in enriching uranium on April 9, 2006. Previously, the Kuwaiti news agency had announced the same news but name Hashemi Rafsanjani, the head of the State Expediency Council as the source. So what was interpreted in Tehran as Hashemi’s upmanship”, was immediately announced internationally to aggravate Iran’s already serious nuclear crisis. READ MORE

Immediately after Ahmadinejad’s “good news”, a vast propaganda began in Mashhad on the subject. For example, the national radio and television network stopped its normal broadcast and after playing national and patriotic hymns, praised Iranian technical accomplishments and asked the public to join in the celebration. Among the news, it was announced that the first yellow cake material had been produced by Iranians. Yellow cake is the first step in the uranium enrichment and following that conversion process that produced the raw material needed for nuclear power plants and can also be used to produce nuclear weapons. The material would be given to a museum in Mashhad. Teasers showing Iranian nuclear facilities, Ahmadinejad and the leader of the Islamic regime were shown on national TV at regular short intervals.

The teasers also showed the head of Iran’s nuclear agency, Gholam Reza Aghazadeh promising to reactivate the work of 3,000 centrifuges. His deputy, Saeedi, bragged that Iran was among the world’s 11 countries that had nuclear technology.

News reports indicate that the ministry of education has instructed public (government) schools across the country to toll their bells in solidarity with this achievement, and while declaring the day a national holiday hold national marches and celebrations. What was repeated in the news bulletins and propaganda conferences was that Iran had joined the nuclear club despite US and its allies’ opposition.

The source of all this hue and cry is what Rafsanjani and later Aghazadeh had said, that Iran had enriched uranium in the Natanz facility to the 3.5 percent level using 164 centrifuges. Ahmad Zeydabadi, a political analyst, commented that Rafsanjani’s announcement indicated the displeasure that parts of the ruling circles feel about Ahmadinejad’s interference in nuclear issues. According to Zeydabadi, the corridors of power in Tehran have recently been witness to the verbal differences between the senior regime officials and that Rafsanjani, for example, openly criticized the policies and behavior of president Ahmadinejad, particularly in the foreign policy area.

Some of these differences have found their way into the media too. For example, Kayhan newspaper which is considered to be the spokesmedia for the fundamentalists of the regime with close connections to the Passdaran Revolutionary Guards Corps, in its Tuesday editorial made veiled reference to the differences and said that the statements of some politicians made in private meetings had leaked out and reached some public circles. The editorial did not deny the news about the heated arguments that have reportedly taken place at the State Expediency Council.